Tech Savvy Creatives

#002 - Are you a Tech Savvy Blogger

March 30, 2020 Kylie Ross Season 1 Episode 2
Tech Savvy Creatives
#002 - Are you a Tech Savvy Blogger
Show Notes Transcript

What Tech do you use as a Blogger? I bet you didn't realise just how much is necessary these days to create Blog, Vlog, Video, Podcast and share it all to your favourite social media channels.

This podcast I give an overview of the tech inside my blogging and podcasting process.


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Kylie Ross:

Hey there everyone hope you are all doing well out there. Given the Coronavirus/COVID19, whatever you want to call it, is currently around, I've changed up the podcast a little bit today as to what I would normally have been doing , because I don't know about you guys, but I have, I've had my moments where I've had a couple of meltdowns recently. I live in Australia and we are in Queensland and the schools are only closing tomorrow, so I'm recording this on Sunday, the 31st of March. So the schools are closing tomorrow except for essential workers. So it's, we're not as progressed as some of you other listeners out there who might be in Europe or Asia or the UK or America and I guess it all hits us at different ways and different times. And as a solo mom, I'm, it's me and my kid and sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming about making decisions and thinking, what's this year going to be for us? And then other times I come back and go , okay, it's going to be crap. It's going to be absolutely shit. Um, we have a house, we have a home and we have some food in the cupboard. Although we tend to be eating a lot more comfort food these days than we would normally do , but we're okay. We'll be okay . It's just, it's just g oing t o be crap. And so I'm just trying to get through that and keep going and trying to create, I am finding it a distraction and to keep my mind off just sort of going a bit apocalyptic, and thinking what that could look like. So, so today, I wanted to have a bit of a chat about, research and note taking as a creative. So whether you're a blogger or a writer, it doesn't really matter you still need to record your research. You might have different quantities of it and different ways that you need to file it. But, having research somewhere is going to be important. So there's a few things that you can use and there's a few free apps as well as paid apps and paid versions you can use if you're starting out and you're just coming on the journey and going, I need to get online, I need to get online now, then definitely go for all the free s tuff. Because until you really get into, m aking money, making an online business making money, you don't need to go to the paid stuff.

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So, o kay. So there's a couple of things we can do and I've just recently changed up what I've been doing. So for many, many years, I've been self employed, I've been a wanna-be writer, I've been a blogger, I've been an online course creator and I've had a day job where as an IT consultant. So I've had a combination of all these things and sometimes they've overlapped from time to time. So I tended to use Evernote because I could have my account, I could take t he stuff, my research anywhere, my notes, my ideas, anywhere I was going, because it was all cloud based. So if I haven't had a work laptop or my own laptop, I could always get my notes and refer back to things. So Evernote is great and I've got some links down below if you w ant t o check it out. And also if you want to really go gang busters and go to the paid version, the differences there I'll note down. But it's really just the quantity of storage that you can have and some of the bells and whistles if you want to share things, which i f you starting out, you're just doing it for yourself, you don't really need all of that.

Kylie Ross:

So you can definitely start with the free version and check it out. Um, if you're not into the color scheme of it. So Evernote is green , and you can either have it with , um, a white background or if you're into max and you have the dark mode , the black background. So I, I'm not a real fan of the color scheme. I quite like to have something a little bit different, but I've been testing out recently what are my other options, what are my other free options. And I found I , I have a day job at the moment as an IT consultant and my work laptop is an HP. So it's all Windows-based, so I tended to what I'm doing now is I'm keeping my notes, my personal and my work notes separate. So I'm using Microsoft OneNote , for my office job and I quite like the layout of it. I liked that it's got colorful little tabs and it is very easy to organize. I'll screenshot that down in the in below. And if you're watching the video version, I'll be putting in little images. So yeah, so, so that's the Onenote side of it and I've , I quite like that. You need an Office365 account , to get all the bells and whistles if you're into Onedrive for business and all of that side of things. But you can also get the free version and you can get the Mac version as well. So it's just in the cloud and other than that, if you have a Mac, you also have Notes on your Mac. And that comes with the product. And I tested it out and I moved from Evernote to that and I was testing it out and quite, I like to take ideas for blog posts and I found copying and pasting from Notes to something else is just a little bit meh, it doesn't always take the formatting that you really want and that you don't have a lot of options to make the notes look a bit prettier compared to what I would like to use.

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So I moved away from that , I'm currently testing out Notion , as well. So it's a , notes on steroids, I guess I wouldn't recommend it for everybody. It's a lot more like a database of, of notes and you can get, you can quite customize it to your own workflow. So I'm working on, because it's new, I'm working on , my Blogging Content Calendar as Notion as opposed to writing in Scrivener or Notes or, Evernote or something else. So, yeah, so I'm testing it out and I will do a review of that soon. Once I've had a good play with it and I've worked out if it's a good system or not.

Kylie Ross:

And if it's not, well I'll review that too. And I'll show you that it's not. So the other way that you can take notes, so from , both writers and bloggers, it's all up to you about what you have. Okay. You don't have to go and buy the best software that someone says, Oh, this is great for bloggers or this is great for the writers and Scrivener is that Scrivener is top of the heap as the most preferred and you beaut bells and whistles writing app. And I do write with it, I love it and I have been using it for my blogging content as well as writing fiction and nonfiction and also for course preparation. So , I do have course , an online course at the moment. I've got others in the mix that are going to be putting on the TechTools4Authors website. So I've been using Scrivener for that and it's very, it's very good for breaking things down. You can have all the different folders and topics and it's like a little network in itself, so [picture here], so it is very great, but I wouldn't recommend you go out and buy it if you've already got something else that's working for you. So wherever you want to record your notes and your research, you just have to have a system and a logic in your head as to how you want to go find them. So you can use Microsoft Word, you can use Notes or Text files that come with both in either a windows or a Mac notes. You can go and get Evernote for free. You can also upgrade if you find that you'd really love it and you want to go a bit further on and as I mentioned is Onenote. So it's all about how you want to capture and how you want to then find that information. The issues that I find with Microsoft Word is it's very hard to search for what you want. It's very much it's a list and if you have things in separate files, you've got to keep going up, opening up all these different files and trying to remember how did I save it? What terms did I use? So I really don't recommend Microsoft Word for research unless you're going to have one file and keep everything in it. But even so it's still painful. So things like Evernote, OneNote, Notion and even Scrivener have really good search capabilities and you can you can you can put things in just different places, different folders, different tags, different ways that you want to search for them. And searching is a lot simpler and you have to think of, it's one, one way to save your research, but the reason you're saving it is to use it for a writing project, whether it's a blog or a book or Nonfiction/Fiction, whatever kind of book it is or some other project that you're writing for. You have to be able to go and find that research easily and you have to be able to go and look at it easily and use it easily. So those are the key things you need to think about when you're looking at how you're going to save your research because it putting it somewhere is, is usually copy/paste. That's quick and easy. But if you want to be able to have web links, images, videos, as well as just text, you need something that's going to support that and is going to be easily searchable for that. Evernote is really brilliant for that because , it's, it uses tags so you can put notes in any which way you want and if you tag them up so you put a little like a hashtag, if you sort of note up that this is for writing or this is for historical or whatever it is that you're doing. If you tag it, then you can go and search that tag and it gives you all the notes that related to it and in a list and you can look down them and you can change the view to , especially if there's images in there, you can look at it by a gallery view or a list. So it makes finding your information very, very simple. Evernote also has the really cool thing that you can web clip. So it has a Chrome extension and a Firefox extension (I'll double check on that one). But yeah , it has a Chrome extension and you can web clip from your browser. Okay. So , um, and that puts it straight into Evernote notes for you. You don't have to copy and paste and have two things open, whereas you would need to do that with other things. So look at the options and the features and think about, you know, what do you need to do and how do you want to recall it? So getting a good practice of a naming convention and and how you want to file things in your mind. Don't worry about how other people do it. It's great to look at examples of how people are doing it. But if it doesn't fit your logic in the way that you think about things, you're going to be really hard pressed to find stuff later on because I've tried that. So, yeah, so when I really just wanted to talk about was that was , find what works for you. So the next part of what I wanted to talk about today was the tech that is really cool specifically for Bloggers. So we've got our research. Okay, then we then need to do something with it. We need to write our blogs. So again, whatever you're taking your research in can also be used to write your blogs. It's all again, how you want to record your information. Now, something I want to just throw in the mix here is that, okay? So hopefully when you're writing your blog, you have a website. Okay. It doesn't matter whether it's WordPress, whether it's Wix , Squarespace, Weebly, whatever it is, wherever you've got your work, your website, you need to have your blog on your website and then you share it out to all the social media platforms. But social media, those apps, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et cetera , you don't own them and you don't own your followers on them. If Facebook ended tomorrow, there's no way for you to get contact with those followers. Again, they're not on an email list. So you need to direct people back to your website. And when you're doing your blogs, you want to have a call to action to sort of get on my email list and we're going to talk about that in a later series. Or , sorry, I let a show about , lead magnets and freebies and what you can give people to entice them onto your website and onto your email list. But the thing is to have your blog on your own website is key. So we need to look into that. Okay. So, okay, so your on there. So you've written your blog post . Okay. So we're all about the practical side of this. Okay . And we know that we need to write a blog. We need to know, we put on our website and we need to know, we have to share it, but practically what tech is involved to do that. Okay. So let's just say we're going to use Evernote for our research and we might draft up some notes. Okay. So we then need to put that into our blog posts that we post on our website. So we would normally go and open up a blog posts, create new, depending on, let's just assume it's a WordPress, and then you would then copy and paste your blog post from your research item , whatever app. So from Evernote into your online blog. Now copy and paste doesn't always play nice. So there's a few little tricks to then formatting your blog post up. So all of this takes time. Okay. It's all tech, it's all time and you need to learn how to do it. So we're going to get into another one, another session about some of the tips and tricks of using markdown or copy paste as values, paste specials, that sort of thing. But once you've got that in there, you then format it and then you follow the blog post rules. So you need to have titles and headers because your search engine optimization is going to look for those pieces of the puzzle. So you're going to have your heading and you're going to then you need to break down your blog post and it's always good to have some subheadings in there and definitely some further images so it breaks the eye up and makes it more readable. Adding a video is always good as well. So if you've listened to one of my other podcasts or you've, you've read one of my posts that there's, there's at least 10 ways to share one low post , create a video from it, which is what I'm doing, here with my podcast. So I'm doing a podcast using the mic and audio and I'm also recording it as well, so I can put that on YouTube. And then I can take snippets of this and I can share this out on social media as well as the podcast and as well as the transcript I can make it into a blog post. So we've got our tech here. Okay . So we've got Evernote, we've got WordPress. Okay. So we've saved our blog. We've , maybe we've recorded talking about it and we're now got a video so we can add the video. Images, where do you get your images from? So there's a , you don't want to pay for them if you're doing this, especially in the early stages, even later, you know, why stock photos can get you so far, and it is great to not have stock photos. But I find that , especially when you're starting out, no one's that fussed on the image, it certainly draws the eye and it gets people in to have a look at things. But , once people know you and they're reading your blog or they're watching your videos, that is secondary I find. So Unsplash.com and I'll put that link in the note in the notes as well. Unsplash.com allows you to get free images, which are pretty good , that you can use. You can also donate to the creator and it's also nice if you give the creator some kudos of where you got the image from in your posts. So, so we've got Evernote, WordPress and Unsplash just to get our Blog done at the moment. Okay. So what we want to then think about is sharing it out. Okay. So as I mentioned, we're taking video and audio, so taking video and audio is another bit of tech that you're going to need. So you're going to need a camera , and you're going to need some recording app for that. So now you can use your phone. You can use an SLR or DSLR, or some other type of camera that you can plug into a computer. So you want to be able to capture that video and the audio. Now you can use the video and the audio straight from your phone. You can use a headset and plug into the phone. My personal setup at the moment, I've been doing this a little bit longer and I have a Mevo camera and I use my iPad to control that. So I'm looking down here cause I've got my iPad in the image here so I can see what I'm looking like as I'm talking to you guys. I've got a microphone here that is plugged into my laptop and I'm recording the audio through Garageband because I just found that the microphone from the Mevo in the room that I'm in, I don't have a sound studio. I'm in a bedroom but because I've got some blinds and carpet and stuff in the office, it does , stops the echo in here. But I am finding that having the microphone go through Garageband, it is actually recording the audio a lot better. So I then mix the two together and what I use is Camtasia because I also do online courses. I've got Camtasia to create and edit, my online course videos. So I'm now using that for everything and I can edit the tracks together and I can put in an intro and an outro. So introducing what the video is going to be about and , and maybe a call to action at the end. So say you get with me now. So we've got Evernote , WordPress , Camera, GarageBand, Mevo and Audio, I'm sorry. And , and I'm using my iPad and a laptop and a microphone. So we're starting to get quite a lot of pieces of the puzzle and we haven't finished yet. Okay. So Camtasia can help you to edit the video together to get the sound in the right spot and you can play around with what you see with that. And you can put images and screenshots. So when I'm pointing up here going, I'm going to add an image or a screenshot, I can put that in through Camtasia. Now once all of that's done and you save your video, you then export the Camtasia as a video. It's not always optimized to then upload to the web. So there's another app called Handbrake, which is, which is free, and it really compresses down your videos and audios so that they can upload very easily and stream very easily on your website or on social media. And I highly recommend that. Now we've got our video. Okay, now the video for this podcast is going to be longer than 30 seconds or a minute. So a minute is the max at the moment for putting on an Instagram post or Facebook. And you really wouldn't hold people on Twitter for that long either. So you want to be able to direct them to your blog post and to your podcast or to your YouTube to watch your podcast. So what I tend to do is, as I'm sharing out, I've got my blog post, I've got my video. So I can put the video on YouTube. I've got the podcast, I can create a little audio file , like a little snippet because where do you put the podcast ? Well , I use Buzzsprout. So now we've got another bit of tech. So I use Buzzsprout to host my podcast and it shares it out to Apple. Uh , Google play, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeartRadio. And there's one more that I can't remember at the moment.

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But there's, there's six anyway, places that it shares it out. So Buzzsprout does all that for me. And I also optimise my file with handbrake before I put my podcast up there and that shares it out. But I also want to get the word out as well. So I take, I go back to Camtasia and I take some little snippets out of my video. I can usually find three, two, or three little sections that are less than 30 seconds. I try and aim for roundabout 20 seconds because you want to hold people's interest and not go too crazy. Cause if you don't get to good stuff straight away, they're just gonna switch off. Which hopefully you haven't and your still with me. So. Uh , yeah. So you try and take some little snippets so you save each of those as a , as a little either as a video or just the audio depending on how you want to share it out.

Kylie Ross:

I liked the video options because then it gives people something visual. Okay. So then you can put that on to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr , wherever you like to share your social and you can schedule it to send out rather than have to go, okay , I'm doing this, I've got to do this one here and this one here and this one here . So I use another bit of tech called CoSchedule and it's paid and it's not the cheapest kid on the block. There are other ones and I've used all the other ones and I just find, I really like CoSchedule because everything's in one place now. I, so I create little templates and CoSchedule for different types of scheduling of what I'm going to do to optimise the post. So I might have a blog post and then I might have a template that says, okay, on that same day that I launched that I released the blog post, I want to put a note on Facebook , maybe two days later on Insta and then maybe the same day, Twitter, another day later Twitter, and maybe a week later Twitter. Then I might want to rehash that again on Facebook in two weeks or three weeks or the next month. So you can set up little schedules from one piece of content. So I've got my blog post on there, I'm advertising my podcast . So I've got my little 20 second blurb of the podcast, which I can add on there as well. I can post that out to Facebook, Twitter and Insta. I can also put images or I can put little bits of video. Um, I can caption them and if I want to, and you can then share them out all these different ways. So by creating a template saves a lot of time because you create the template and you just put in, okay, it says all the days that you're going to schedule it, whether it's the next day, three days later, a month later, whether it's Facebook, Twitter, whatever. And you can put the little hashtags in there and the different , and you've got little codes for putting in the title of the blog post or what you want to say. So you've got these little places. So you , you just go down your list and you're putting your images in your , videos, et cetera. Then you hit apply and it just goes and does it all, sets it all up. You sense check it and then you publish so once and you can schedule the publishing of the actual blog posts, which is the trigger for all the other items to happen. So I can get in there and it is, it's not the quickest I have to say, but once I've done that, I can have at least 10 pieces of content going out over the next month for that one blog post. For that one podcast. That one thing that I did, I've got at least 10 different things going out at different times. And if it's evergreen content, so if it's stuff that is about your website or about your product or about your service, something that, a message that you want to repeat, you can then put that on what they call a requeue, which then says, okay, well this is this bit of content now for Requeue. So I'm going to reshare that in three months or one month. You can set the Requeue options so you don't have to think about that multiple times. It just goes on autopilot. Now you wouldn't Requeue everything because you don't want people to get the same thing over and over and over again. But pieces of information that it might be advertising your product or your service , or your course are really great things to do this with. Okay, so we've got quite a bit of tech already. I haven't even gone through my whole process yet, but that's the main stuff to get you main, the main tech that I would recommend for a blogger is somewhere to capture your research. I find Evernote is really quick and simple for that. You then need a website which you can use WordPress if you have a, if you're doing an online course, I would recommend Kajabi and I'm going to do some more reviews on this in a later post, but Kajabi , so I've been, I've been doing the online courses for a few years now and I found with WordPress, if you're familiar with WordPress, you have your website and you have various different plugins, which are different apps that do different bits and pieces , on your website. And some of them are free, some of them are paid. But I find that when things are being updated, each of these plugins are created by different creator, different developer, and the time of them being updated, it doesn't always happen at the same time. So quite often plugins can clash with each other. And I kept finding that I was just getting ready to launch a new product or change the theme on the website, something and something would clash was something and the performance would be so slow. I'd be getting complaints from users or all of a sudden , any customization I'd done on the online course and to how I wanted it to look were just rubbish. And I just got so frustrated. Um, and Kajabi is not the cheapest kid on the block by any means, but it is all in one package and I love the look of it is so easy to use. So for online courses, I definitely recommend that and I've actually, my whole TechTools4Authors website is on Kajabi these days. So if you don't have an online course though, you don't need to go to Kajabi, you can just use a website , quite easily. So we're going to go through some of these in various different blog posts coming up and other podcasts coming up. But I just wanted to get across to you today. Uh , I guess just the best tools, the best tech savvy tools for bloggers , right now. And the ones that I recommend , is Evernote for gathering all your research and drafting out your blog posts and I have , this other video on using Evernote for Bloggers. You can also then , have a WordPress website and then you can record your videos and blogs , using if you have a Mac, you can use the software on their GarageBand and you know, whatever camera you've got around and then you want to be able to schedule that out.

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I currently recommend CoSchedule and I'll put the links all down on the bottom. And, and then for the podcast side of it, I use Buzzsprout and share that out. And I've only started, this is literally the second podcast, so, so far so good. And we'll give you a review on that one after we've done a few more podcasts and see how everything's going. So that's the main tech to get you going. There's so many other options and so many other things you could be doing because you, oh and Camtasia that was the other one. Camtasia for editing your videos. So this, yeah, there's so many other things that you can do and this is no right or wrong way. It's what works for you.

Kylie Ross:

So then I'm just sharing with you what works for me and I've gone through quite a lot of iterations of different bits of software and kit over the years. I've been an IT Consultant and I've also had creating my own courses for quite a few years now. So I've been through everything, both windows based and Mac based. As you get to know me M ac is my absolute preference. If I have to use windows, I do it begrudgingly just that's my preference. Okay. It all works, ev erything s till works. But I am a Mac, an A pple person. So, I always go down that route first. So, yeah, so that's, I'd love to know what other people are doing and you know, I'd like to know what works for you as well. So it doesn't have to be one way or the other way. I'm just telling you what tech I like and what works for me. And if you want to try it out, I've got a few videos on the different different ones and I've got some coming up and some reviews coming up. Practical demonstrations coming up of , of all of this tech and we're also going to have some for the Best Tech for Writers coming up , in the next podcast. Some of them cross over, some of the very similar tech but obviously the writing process is a little bit different to the blogging process. So blogging is a lot shorter pieces of writing. So how you research and how you save those and write those is , is quite different. But ultimately at the end of the day, you need to think about if the internet died. Okay. Scary, scary thought. But in today's world, you know, we need to have a plan B. So if the internet died and you could not get your blog posts, your images, your videos, how would you start again when it all came back? So having a place to record all of your assets that you use, your content creation assets. So all the images that you've saved, how you've put them into a blog post. So what your finished blog posts look like, looks like, what keywords you've used, what videos you've used with that, how you've done the subtitles, where you've posted it, where you've shared it, all of that information would suddenly be gone because unless you can log into those apps, you, you know, you can't find all of that. So I have a backup routine where I liked to keep things on my laptop. I also, I back up to cloud storage. So here's another piece of tech. Um , you can use iCloud, Dropbox, Google drive. Um, you can also use a one that I'm personally is Amazon web services because once you start to get a lot of content and a lot of videos, it does get , quite full and it can get a bit more expensive. So Amazon web services I find is a cheaper option. It's not really expensive and I can back up all my stuff. So once I've finished creating, I take backups of a lot of things. Especially of all my posts. I've got ways that I save it all and I'm going to show you that one specifically. There's a lot of detail in there that's going to be on a future podcast , with a video demonstration as well on how I work that situation. But you need to think about these things because like I said, if Facebook stopped tomorrow, all your , all your followers they are gone and all your content is gone. So you need to be able to get it back and so you need to be able to save it to a device that you've got access to, whether it's a USB or an external hard drive or something, you need some way of keeping all that information. So that is all the best tech that I recommend for bloggers today. I would really love to know what you use and how you use it. And , if you've got any questions, pop them in the comments below and let's see what we can answer. Happy to help. Okay. Have a good day. Bye.